Today I met up with Esther, one of my best girls, with the hope of bagging a pretty bargain at some of the best second-hand retailers in my home town. After a quick stop at my local haberdashery – where I did my customary rummage through the offcut bin and picked up 5 offcuts and 4 ribbons for £2 – we headed to the vintage market round the corner, which lives inside an old church.
Here’s Esther holding a teapot, with a backdrop of vintage homewares and knick-knacks. It’s all very pretty, like these dresses, and this top which I found among them:
I was sorely tempted! Then I found the Dress of my Dreams:
It’s perfect in every way! It was also £35 (so much for bargain hunting!) so I hung it back on the rail, blinking back tears of sorrow. Never mind!
Then we found some military get-up, and of course we had to try it on:
I wish, wish, wish that I had occasion to wear this jacket. All the time. I could even deal with the weight. And then I found my dream Spring Ball dress:
It was a bit more blue and a bit less grey than it looks in the photo. It was also quite expensive! But the fabric was oh so gorgeous and swishy and silky…I can definitely imagine arriving wearing this! We left the market empty handed, as many of the things we wanted were quite overpriced.
Undeterred, we headed towards the St Helena Hospice charity shop, stopping off at Oxfam on the way (where I bought a Great British Bake Off recipe book for £2.50). The St Helena Hospice shop is an incredible collection of vintage and antique clothes, accessories, homewares, trinkets and pretty much everything in between!
It’s one of my favourite places to explore, because you never know what you’re going to find around the next corner. It’s essentially a museum of antiques and vintage clothing – but you can buy everything.
Esther and I went a bit wild, searching through rail after rail of dresses and coats, and, obviously, we had to try on a few things, just for the giggles:
Esther thinks I should have bought the voluminous blue dress. I think Esther should have bought the fetching mustard blouse. She settled on a teapot, two cups and saucers, and a fairisle jumper instead:
I settled on two frumpy pleated skirts – one navy, one grey – which were a steal at £2.50 each. They might be making their way onto this blog soon! I also snapped up a pair of gold heels – only a fiver:
I also found the most gorgeous pair of shoes I have ever laid eyes on in my life:
But in a devastating, ugly-sister-esque scene, they would not fit on my bulky feet, no matter how hard I tried, or no matter how stubbornly I declared to the bemused shop assistant that “they will go on!”
Nevertheless, it was a very successful trip. I love having a good old rummage through second-hand shops such as these, simply because of the excitement of uncovering a real hidden gem, or picking up a few bargains with the potential for great things. I rarely look at a dress and only see what is there – I’m always thinking about what it could be, if I took it in, or raised the hem, or added a bit of pizazz. It’s far more rewarding than walking into a high-street chain, trying on a few tops that don’t quite fit properly, and spending £30 on a dress that just isn’t quite right.
It’s also given me a bit of encouragement to go ahead with The Project – Esther kept saying, “you could totally do this dress up for Spring Ball”, and it’s making the thought of wearing a handmade dress to the ball oh so tempting!